Album Review: ...For The Whole World To See by Death
Very Good, Based on 4 Critics
Pitchfork - 71 Based on rating 7.1/10
No matter how extensively technology's all-seeing eye attempts to catalog every rock recording ever made, Drag City's recent stream of reissues keeps unearthing uber-obscure excellence at a steady clip. After resurrecting 70s folk singer Gary Higgins and early 80s punk polymath JT IV (John Timmis IV), the Chicago-based label brings us Death, an all-black punk/hard-rock trio from Detroit (not to be confused with the 80s speed-metal band). Comprised of brothers David, Bobby, and Dannis Hackney, the band started out in 1971 playing R&B but switched to rock after hearing the raucous proto punk of their neighbors the MC5 and Stooges.
Chicago's Drag City is carving out quite an interesting niche as eclectic purveyors of obscure reissues. After dusting off '70s folkie Gary Higgins and early '80s punk JT IV (John Timmis IV), the label drops Death at our doorstep. The African-American, somewhat proto-punk rock trio from Detroit, not to be conflated with the '80s speed-metal band. Luckily for Drag City, Death's genesis story shills itself.
Detroit's David, Bobby and Dennis Hackney described themselves as "three black blood-brothers who played rock'n'roll". They'd later make gospel and then reggae records, but this previously unreleased mini-album (recorded in late 1974) turns out to be a marvellously invigorating blast of proto-punk intensity. .
Every time a reissue of a remarkable, lost record comes out, it’s difficult to resist the temptation to compile an amazed laundry-list of bands it mysteriously prefigures. Death’s …For the Whole World to See provokes such a response. Some licks sound like Husker Du. Some quivery vocals evoke H.R.